North America

Shutts Lawyers Sue Angola for $52M of Unpaid Electric Bills

Shutts & Bowen attorneys filed a $52 million lawsuit against the African nation of Angola on behalf of its client, LS Energia, claiming years of underpayment for operating two of its power plants.

The two Angolan facilities provided electricity to more than 2 million people in the Portuguese-speaking nation. Angola is the largest oil exporter and producer in sub-Saharan Africa, which caused the country to face hardships when oil prices dropped.

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More signs that credit unions will continue to buy small banks

An Atlanta-based credit union’s move this month to buy a community bank would mark a first-of-its-kind acquisition in Georgia. But a leading M&A adviser who worked on that deal says increasingly more credit unions are looking to acquire banks, and he expects more such deals to be announced in Georgia and nationally this year and next. Georgia’s Own CU agreed to acquire Fayetteville, Ga.-based State Bank of Georgia, which has about $95 million in assets and which gives the buyer, with its nearly $2.3 billion in assets, added scale, a stronger presence in suburban Atlanta, and proven lending talent — the seller said all of its staff will join Georgia’s Own. A purchase price was not made public.

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Stradling Shareholder Mark Skaist Named to OCBJ’s OC 500

Orange County Business Journal’s second annual OC 500 book included Stradling’s Corporate Shareholder Mark Skaist in the service category. The book includes 500 of Orange County’s most influential business and civic leaders in nearly every industry sector.

“I am honored to be included in this prestigious list with many business and civil leaders whom I admire,” says Skaist, who is co-chair of the firm’s corporate and securities practice.

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Transformation Sweeping Advertising and Marketing: Data

As mentioned, I gave a presentation on the key trends and legal developments sweeping the advertising and marketing ecosystem at last week’s 39th Association of National Advertisers/Brand Activation Association Marketing Law Conference, “Breakthrough: Legal Strategies for Dynamic Businesses.” Today I will share with you the second installment of this series…

The question of who has access to consumer data and device information – and how it gets used – is one that we all need to worry about.  But when it comes to brands, how can they create compelling content to convince a consumer to stay connected and share their data?

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Davis Malm Adds Alicia R. Selman to its Growing Real Estate Practice

Davis Malm announces that Alicia R. Selman has joined the firm as an associate. Ms. Selman practices in the Real Estate and Environmental area. She assists in a range of real estate transactions and litigation matters for individuals and commercial clients, including lenders, developers, title insurance companies, and condominiums. Prior to joining Davis Malm, Ms. Selman interned with the Hon. Howard P. Speicher at the Massachusetts Land Court, as well as with the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, the Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, and two private practice law firms.

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Trump Nominee Peter Robb Confirmed as NLRB General Counsel

The Senate has confirmed Peter B. Robb as the next General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”).  Mr. Robb, a management side labor lawyer perhaps best known for his representation of the FAA during the 1981 air traffic controllers’ strike, will succeed Richard Griffith, Jr., who was appointed to his four year term by President Barrack Obama in 2013.

Although Mr. Griffin’s term concluded on October 31st, and the Senate sent Mr. Robb’s confirmation to the President for his signature, to date President Trump has not signed off, with the result that since November 1st, Deputy General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo has been serving as Acting General Counsel.

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Appeals Court Enforces Arbitration Clause in Hyperlinked Terms & Conditions

In an important decision concerning the enforceability of an arbitration clause included in a mobile app’s Terms of Service, the federal appeals court in New York recently found that a reasonably prudent smartphone user would recognize that blue, underlined text within an Internet-linked app leads to another page where additional information can be found.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit therefore held that a mobile app’s registration screen, notifying the user that by registering, he or she will be bound by the app’s “Terms of Service,” is sufficient to bind that user to a contractual arbitration provision included in those Terms of Service, reversing the district judge’s decision that determined such hyperlinked terms to be unenforceable.

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Lawmakers Get One Step Closer To Reversing The NLRB’s Controversial Joint Employer Standard

The House of Representatives recently passed the Save Local Business Act (H.R. 3441), which marks an important step in the campaign to reverse the Board’s controversial loosening in Browning Ferris Industries of the long standing tests for determining whether two businesses are joint employers expansion and share bargaining obligations and liability for each other’s actions.  The measure seeks to protect businesses with staffing, franchise and other contractual relationships from liability and union bargaining obligations for another business’ workers unless one business exercises direct control over the employees of the other.

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The CSR Payment Conundrum: Where Do We Go from Here?

In response to Republicans’ failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Trump Administration is using administrative action to modify the ACA and health insurance options for Americans. On October 12, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order that instructs various departments to consider regulations related to association health plans and short-term insurance. Shortly after, the Administration announced that they would no longer make cost sharing reduction (CSR) payments to insurers on the Exchanges.  Section 1402 of the ACA requires insurance companies to reduce the amount that eligible low-income policyholders pay out of pocket for co-payments and deductibles.  Accordingly, the federal government must reimburse insurers for reductions when the Secretary of HHS is notified.

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Transformation Sweeping Advertising and Marketing: Influencer Marketing

It was an incredible three days in Chicago at the 39th Association of National Advertisers/Brand Activation Association Marketing Law Conference, “Breakthrough: Legal Strategies for Dynamic Businesses.” During yesterday morning’s general session, I gave a presentation titled “Transformation Sweeping Advertising and Marketing: Key Trends and Legal Developments,” exploring not only the trends and changes in the advertising and marketing ecosystem, but how lawyers can and are responding to keep pace with the industry and their business clients’ demands.  In the next series of posts, I will share some highlights from my presentation. Let’s dive into the first one…

Influencer marketing isn’t just the fastest channel for consumer acquisition – it’s also one of the most cost-effective.  Studies have shown that working … Continue Reading

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